[Podcast] Christine (1983) – Episode 110 – Decades of Horror 1980s

“Whoa, whoa. You better watch what you say about my car. She’s real sensitive.” Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) is rather protective of his 1957 Plymouth Fury named Christine. He worked hard to restore it, pretty much rebuilding it from the ground up. Arnie doesn’t appreciate when people mince words in front of her. Or worse, lay an unprovoked finger on her person. Then again, Arnie doesn’t need to do a thing. Christine speaks for herself. And her words are deadly.

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 110 – Christine (1983)

After a prologue set in 1957 showing the deadly origins of Christine, we flash forward to our main action set in 1978. Arnie is a stock nerd archetype, to the point of cramping the new found coolness of his best friend Dennis (John Stockwell). He’s on the football team while Arnie is playing Scrabble with his parents. After getting beaten up by the school bullies, Arnie finally catches a break when he finds Christine. While initially a junkpile, Arnie manages to restore this junked up car to its former glory. Mainly thanks to the generosity of junk yard owner Will Darnell (Robert Prosky). As Arnie spends more time restoring his new car, he slowly becomes more confident and cool. He even manages to bag the most popular girl in school Leigh (Alexandra Paul). But that confidence grows into aggressiveness, showing that the car might have an influence over Arnie. The charm works both ways however, as the now sentient Christine is hell bent on destroying the bullies that came between her and her man.

Doc Rotten, Christopher G. Moore and Thomas Mariani have plenty to weigh on with this early Stephen King adaptation. While not the most popular film from director John Carpenter, the three praise his ability to turn a job-for-hire into an efficient horror film. There’s praise for the soundtrack selection that gives the car a personality. A few varying opinions on whether or not Keith Gordon’s transformation feels earned. Even a mutual distaste for the rather flat performance by Alexandra Paul. There are also plenty of burning questions about Christine. Does serve as a prequel to Pixar’s Cars? How did Carpenter’s team pull off those car effects shots? Would a modern day Arnie be explicitly sexually attracted to his car? All of these are answered to the best of these three’s knowledge this episode!

We want to hear from you – the coolest, most gruesome fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1980s podcast hosts at thomasmariani@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

Doc Rotten
Editor-In-Chief / Founder / Podcast Producer at Horror News Radio
Doc Rotten is the founder of Gruesome Magazine. He is also a film critic for Gruesome Magazine and the podcast host & producer for Horror News Radio, Monster Movie Podcast, Decades of Horror: 1970s, The American Horror Story Fan Podcast and Hannibal Fan Podcast. He is also co-host of the Dracula podcast on TV TALK and is a contributing reviewer for HorrorNews.Net and Widescreen Warrior.

Doc a lifelong fan of horror films, sci-fi flicks and monster movies first discovering Universal Monsters and Planet of the Apes as a young child in the 1970's searching out every issue of Famous Monster of Filmland (and, later, Fangoria). Favorite films include Jaws, The Car, The Birds, The Tingler, Vampire Circus and The Exorcist. Still a huge fan of horror films from the 70s, Doc continues consuming horror films to this day for the site, for the podcasts and for the fun of it all.
  • john may

    Another great podcast. You guys hit the nail on the head when you discussed the main problems with this film, especially >basically bloodless kills<. Considering this was an R rating, I'm surprised it was so tame. If we would have got some kills closer to the stuff in "DeathProof" (which is a sucky film outside of that). I think a lot more people would remember the film for more than just the car.

    As it is, the kills don't mean a whole lot because you may as well have just had the characters disappear. With that happening, no horrific tension is built. "The Car" may have had a better kill with the car jumping through the house, at least the loss is earned and expressed through the other characters. Since the victims in "Christine" are thugs, no one cares about the kills and the only way to raise some emotion or empathy is to really show brutality in the kills.

    If Arnie's good friend was run over by Christine brutally, hell, the audience would care about that. As it is, there is nothing to care about in "Christine" outside of the beginning where Arnie is berated by his parents and the thugs.